What’s Wendy Greuel Done to Deserve a Promotion?

INSIDE CITY HALL - In Los Angeles, Wendy Greuel is the City Controller.

But she wants to be the City Mayor, and she’s asking the voters to promote her to that office next month. The question is, does her experience as the City’s chief accounting and auditing officer qualify her to be the Mayor of Los Angeles?    

As Controller, Greuel is fully responsible for her Office. She doesn’t report to the Mayor and she doesn’t report to the City Council. In fact, under the Riordan Paradigm, she isn’t even subject to oversight by the Civil Service Commission. Thus, Greuel gets all the credit and takes all the blame for whatever happens in the Controller’s Office on her watch.  

The Controller’s Office is not a large organization. For the current fiscal year, it has a staff of 165 employees and a total appropriation of $16.4 Billion. Since over 90% of that total goes for employee salaries, Angelenos would probably expect  the Controller’s staff to be well-managed. Sadly, that seems not to be the case.  

At last report, the Controller’s Office was using personnel procedures that experts abhor and courts reject. It used a variation of the one-size-fits-all, trait-rating procedure established in 1959. And it used that procedure both as the  working test for probationers, and for the annual evaluation of vested employees.  

It should be noted that, by embracing the Riordan Paradigm, Greuel violates her Oath of Office—the promise she made to the people of Los Angeles. And by her continued use of ancient personnel practices, she violates Charter Section 103, Delivery of Services, which calls for the use of technologically advanced methods.  

What’s really regrettable is that Greuel missed a chance to make a difference—a chance to improve personnel practices in her office. She declined a chance to field-test a state-of-the-art performance appraisal system and continued using the meaningless, legally indefensible approach from the Fifties.  

Clearly, Wendy Greuel’s Controller experience has not prepared her to be the Mayor of Los Angeles. It hasn’t helped her understand that the City Charter must not be changed without a vote of the people. It hasn’t helped her understand that the Board of Civil Service Commissioners properly serves as a firewall. Moreover, Greuel’s Controller experience has seemingly not helped her connect the dots between performance mismanagement and the waste of scarce City revenues.  

Based on such unlearned lessons, Wendy Greuel mustn’t become Mayor of LA. 


(Samuel Sperling is a City Hall watchdog who writes for the Tolucan Times. Check out other writers and reporters … including Greg Crosby … at tolucantimes.info) You can reach Samuel Sperling at: samuelmsperling@yahoo.com.) –cw





Vol 11 Issue 33

Pub: Apr 23, 2013